Some of Dan Boeckner’s (Wolf Parade’s less squeaky vocalist) best songs to date deal with one of romance’s more well-worn themes: separation and reunion, but not without loss – something, once departed, staying out in orbit.
This formula receives its most literal instantiation in “Yulia” – a regrettably overlooked gem from Wolf Parade’s last album, Expo 86, released just before the band went on indefinite hiatus – in which, the emotionally charged music video enacts, in typical Soviet incompetence a mission control malfunction prevents a heroic cosmonaut from ever returning to his tragic lover (Yulia,) at least on Earth.
“Repatriated,” from Handsome Furs’ (Boeckner’s duo with wife, Alexei Perry) upcoming third LP, Sound Kapital, extends the same theme to more abstract territory. Here, the singer’s feeling (the song unearths this entity better than I could), once something that could be relied upon, has, with age, left and come back in flightier form. Now “it comes and goes” and that’s the best he can hope for; there will be no full repatriation.
The song takes off from a high-flying arrangement of dance percussion, soaring synths and, most crucially, Boeckner’s masculine, distinctively strained vocals.
While this sort of songwriting does not quite compare to Wolf Parade’s massively laudable early work (Boeckner’s contributions to Expo 86 and Handsome Furs have earned him the equivocal characterization “Springsteen revivalist” …), it wields its romantic palette with authentic feeling – something that, when present, serves to expose the regularity with which, in so much music, it is absent.